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Guru Arjan

Of his three sons, he chose the youngest, Arjan, as his successor. Arjan became Nanak V upon the demise of his father on 1 September 1581. Arjan was the youngest of the fourth guru’s sons. The eldest, Prithi Chand, was age of eighteen he had been until then the youngest to become guru.  Four successors, including his son, would be even younger.

 

As the faith evolved and developed so also did opposition to it. Akbar’s tolerance and liberal outlook had provided an umbrella for its growth. But this could not prevent covert jealousy and hostility which became overt soon after the emperor‘s death on 16 October 1605.

 

Unlike his father, the new emperor, Jahangir, was not an eclectic. In addition, he found cause to have a grievance against the guru. Prince Khusro, Jahangir’s son who had rebelled, fled to the Punjab where, according to reports made by the guru’s detractors , he received the guru’s support and blessings. Those inimical to the Sikh’s  further encouraged Jahangir’s animosity. Within a few months of his accession his ire found expression in action. To quote from his memoirs, TuzukJahangiri: I fully knew of his heresies, and I ordered that he should be brought into my presence, that his property be confiscated, and that he should be put to death and torture.  The governor of Lahore ,Murtaza khan, was to implement the order. However, according to Sikh chronicles, Chandu Shah --- a wealthy merchant and revenue official of the Mughal administration--- importuned the governor to be entrusted with the task. Lore has it that Chandu had a personal animus against the guru; namely, a rejected marriage proposal  forChandu’s   daughter to be betrothed to the guru’s young son HarGobind.

 

Guru  Arjan was subjected to the most horrendous  tortures until his body succumbed  on May 13 1606 ----just seven months after Akbar’s death. The Sikhs acquired their first martyr. A monotheistic, pacifist, non-belligerent philosophy was destined for a metamorphosis.